By the time this edition is in your hands it will be almost 55 years to the date (January 31, 1963) since President John F. Kennedy spoke at the 50th annual meeting of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
After receiving an award from the organization, President Kennedy praised the work of the ADL, stating:
“Your tireless pursuit of equality of treatment for all Americans has made a lasting and substantial contribution to our democracy.”
And later in his talk, he concluded:
“That is what this organization has stood for 50 years. That is what this country has stood for 200 years, and that is what this country will continue to stand for.”
The words “equality of treatment for all Americans” should resonate today more than ever. After all, President Kennedy was describing one of the basic principles of our nation — that all men, women and children deserve to be treated equally regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, gender, age, sexual orientation or place of residence.
But, clearly the fundamental principles of tolerance, fairness and equality are being sorely tested in today’s hyper-partisan political climate. Major decisions being made should be given due consideration, rather than a knee-jerk reaction in hopes of currying favor with a certain political base. Too many Democrats and Republicans are unwilling to reach “across the aisle” to the other side. Rather than compromise and find win-win solutions to the complex problems facing the nation, they propose radical solutions where one side can claim victory and call the other faction a loser.
Unfortunately, we are now living in a polarized country where people seem to be guided more by anger and hate toward others than by goodwill toward their neighbors. In this climate, it seems we must turn more and more to our attorneys and our courts to find a middle path that protects our basic “inalienable” rights.
Now, more than ever, we need litigators and jurists committed to the rule of law, and professionals throughout our community to work tirelessly to protect our personal rights and combat injustices on a local, state and national level.
We need to shape a better future for our children and grandchildren — and for ourselves as well.